Bonga found guilty on 4 of 5 felony counts; sentencing Jan. 18
Patrick Charles Bonga, 40, of Detroit Lakes, was found guilty by a jury on four of five felony charges at the Becker County Courthouse on Friday stemming from a June 7 incident at his home in Detroit Lakes. Bonga could serve more than 13 years in prison based on Minnesota sentencing guidelines. Sentencing will take place at the Becker County Courthouse on Jan. 18.
DETROIT LAKES — As the jurors were ushered into the Becker County courtroom to have their verdict read, none of them made eye contact with the defendant on the final day of a three-day trial.
With his victim in the courtroom looking on, Bonga was read the jury's verdict by Judge Gretchen Thilmony.
The jury found Patrick Charles Bonga guilty of four of five felony counts on Friday, Dec. 2.
He was found guilty of two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon — substantial bodily harm, one count of false imprisonment and one count of third-degree assault. The jury found Bonga not guilty of first-degree assault — great bodily harm. Based on Minnesota sentencing guidelines and aggravating factors, Bonga could face more than 13 years in prison with his sentencing hearing scheduled for Jan. 18.
Jurors deliberated for more than three hours before issuing their verdict.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Brian McDonald said the case was "something out of a horror movie," but the events happened to a real person, Alexander Robare, who reported the crime within 30 minutes of escaping Bonga's residence through an open window.
He also said the testimony of the victim and witnesses were consistent, while Bonga admitted to lying to investigators on the witness stand.
Bonga's lawyer, Ruth Lee, a public defender, told jurors during her closing statement that the only story jurors were told about the incident was from the victim, Robare, and a witness who had pled guilty to aggravated robbery and was under a cooperation agreement with the prosecution.
She did effectively point out during her closing that Robare's injuries were nearly healed six months later and a far cry from the permanent disfigurement required for a first-degree assault charge.
She also reiterated Bonga's self-defense argument about Robare being an unknown and intimidating person when he arrived at the residence, which caused the defendant to punch Robare and have boiling water accidentally spilled on him from a nearby stove.